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Harvard Professor: Children Can Send Marriage Into Downward Spiral

Marriage has been shown, through research, to be an unending source of joy, a Harvard professor said at an Australian conference this week.

But introduce children into the relationship and that joy may plummet, according to a report from the Australian Associated Press.

"Figures show that married people are in almost every way happier than unmarried people — whether they are single, divorced, cohabiting," Harvard University psychology professor Daniel Gilbert told the Happiness and its Causes conference in Sydney.

"Married people live longer, married people earn more money per capita, married people have more sex and enjoy it more," AAP quoted Gilbert as saying.

But, despite the belief that children are the apples of our eyes, they actually can have a negative influence on marriages, according to the report. And more kids equals more sadness, Gilbert said.

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U.S. and European studies show that married couples’ happiness spikes when they're expecting a baby but once that baby arrives, it plummets.

And forget about empty nest syndrome. The low point comes when children are between the ages of 12 and 16 and happiness only starts to recover once they fly the coop, Gilbert said.

Click here to read more on this story from AAP.